Woodland D50 News and Information

July 2021

Dear Woodland Families,

Summer is flying by, and this week marks the conclusion of the Wildcat Summer Adventures (WSA) and Extended School Year (ESY) programs. The program was expanded this summer to serve more students and provide more learning opportunities and social connections after the difficult year we had. I have included a few pictures so you can see how much fun we had.

As we turn our focus to the next school year, we need your urgent attention. Today is the final deadline for registering your returning student! Please register your returning student by logging into Skyward Family Access. Not registering your child may impact their bus assignment and class schedule and you will NOT be able to access this information in Skyward. If you need assistance, please contact the Registration Office at Residency@dist50.net. Thank you for taking action on this task at your earliest convenience. If you have already completed registration, no further action is required. Thank you!

Continue reading this newsletter for more important news and information about return to school plans and more. Looking forward to a great year in the W!

Your Partner in Education,
Dr. Lori Casey, Superintendent
Woodland D50

Board of Education Meeting, July 22

The Board of Education met on July 22, 2021. If you missed the meeting, you are welcome to watch the recording HERE. Click on the meeting date and look for "Video" (Video may not be available until late morning or early afternoon on July 23, 2021 depending on uploading and processing times).

School Year 2021-2022 Update

Woodland D50 is planning a full return to in-person learning in the fall and students will attend school five days a week. Dr. Casey presented new information to the Woodland D50 Board of Education based on the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) adopting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for schools. The new guidance indicates that masks are optional indoors for anyone who is fully vaccinated, but continues to recommend masks for individuals who are not vaccinated. There is also an update to the social distancing guidelines recommending at least three feet of distance between students, but not if this is a barrier to in-person learning. Dr. Casey recommended the following modifications to Woodland’s mask wearing and social distancing mitigation strategies for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Masks will be optional for Woodland teachers, staff and students that have been fully vaccinated.
  • Woodland staff and students that are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks in school. Vaccines are currently not available for students under the age of 12, so all students in the younger grades will be wearing masks in school unless there is a medical exemption.
  • Masks will be required for all staff and students regardless of vaccination status on Woodland buses.
  • Masks will not be required when students are outside regardless of vaccination status.
  • All visitors to Woodland D50 buildings, such as parents, volunteers, contractors or vendors, should continue to wear masks inside.
  • Woodland will continue to distance students within the building three feet to the best of our ability.
  • Staff and students will no longer need to self-certify.
  • The district is currently piloting SHIELD Testing during summer school. Once the pilot is determined to be an effective mitigation strategy, this program will be added in the fall. (More information to follow.)
  • There will be no Remote Learning offered in the fall. According to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) districts may offer remote learning only for students not eligible for the vaccine and currently under a quarantine order due to a positive COVID19 test or possible exposure. Should a child have a medical condition preventing them from attending in person for two or more consecutive weeks or on an intermittent basis, that student may qualify for homebound instruction.

As part of the presentation, Dr. Casey indicated that these recommendations are a starting point. Leaders will continue to watch the numbers in our learning community to determine if we can remove further mitigations during the school year. On the other hand, if the spread of COVID increases and we need to reinstate prevention strategies, we will do that as well.

We understand that there are a wide range of opinions about what school should look like in the fall and we continue to hear from parents who are very concerned about safety, as well as parents who are ready to remove the added safety measures. We take this feedback to heart and we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work together to find the right balance. As always we start with prioritizing the health and safety of the members of our learning community, with an eye on constantly moving us forward. The best way to do this is by working together.

Additional Questions? If after listening to the discussion you have additional questions about return to school plans, please submit your question using this form. We will use this information as we develop our communication moving forward.

Superintendent Search Firm

Dr. Casey is retiring at the end of the 2021-2022 school year and the Board of Education will be searching for a new superintendent to join #LifeintheW. The Board voted to use a professional search firm that specializes in School Superintendent searches. At the July meeting, they selected the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) to help develop a superintendent profile with input from Woodland stakeholders, and the process will begin immediately.

Board Approves eLearning Plan

The Board of Education held a public hearing at the July Board Meeting on the proposed Woodland D50 eLearning plan. Later in the meeting, the Board approved the plan which gives Woodland the ability to use eLearning days in lieu of emergency days according to Section 10-20.56 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/10-20.56). The plan was developed in collaboration with representatives from the Union, PTA, parents, staff, and district and school administration. The eLearning Plan follows the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) requirements and Illinois School Code, and incorporates student feedback from student focus groups. With this approval, the eLearning Plan will be translated into Spanish, and professional development will be provided to staff. Additional information will be available for parents later this fall in preparation for possible eLearning Days this winter.

Approval of Additional Chromebooks for eLearning Plan

The Board of Education approved the expansion of the district’s one-to-one technology program to include all students in early childhood thru 8th grade. This would require additional devices to be purchased to expand from the current program which includes all students, 3rd through 8th grade, by adding new devices for 1st and 2nd grade and rolling used devices to early childhood and kindergarten in FY22. The 1,034 devices will be purchased using Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for a total of $408,430. With delivery and device setup times, implementation is expected to take place at the end of September.

Back to School Facebook Live with Woodland Principals

Thursday, Aug. 12th, 1pm

This is an online event.

Please join Dr. Casey and the Woodland Principals for a discussion and overview of what to expect when we return to school in August. We will go live from the Woodland D50 Facebook page at 1 p.m. If you aren't able to watch the conversation live, you can watch it at any time on our Facebook page.

School Breakfast and Lunch During 2021-2022 School Year

Good news! The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has decided to opt-in for a Child Nutrition Nationwide Waiver. This will allow Woodland D50 to provide breakfast and lunch at no cost to Woodland students during the 2021-22 school year.

Hiring in the W!

We want you to join the Woodland team! We are currently hiring for Bus Drivers and Substitute/Guest Teachers. These are very important positions for opening to full in-person school in the fall. You can make a difference and contribute to #LifeintheW. Follow @WoodlandCareers on Twitter to see other postings.
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Woodland Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

The Woodland PTA is looking for parents, teachers, friends, neighbors and grandparents who will work together to support the Woodland learning community. Connect with the Woodland PTA on Facebook or visit their website to learn more about the organization and how to get involved.

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